Modernes Business Intelligence und Data Warehouse System sorgt für herausragende Performance

IBM Cloud Pak for Data System enables AGAPLESION to effectively manage data and perform complex analyses Success Story as PDF

As one of Germany's largest Christian healthcare groups, AGAPLESION - in addition to over a hundred medical facilities and more than 1,000,000 patients - also manages a huge amount of data. For its storage, documentation and analysis, the company is massively dependent on a functional Business Intelligence (BI) & Data Warehouse (DWH) system. When it came time to renew the existing solution, TIMETOACT designed a modern innovation platform for AGAPLESION, which ultimately won the bid. Together, they introduced the platform based on IBM Cloud Pak for Data System - high-performance, scalable and many times faster than its predecessor. This opens up far-reaching possibilities for AGAPLESION's data management and analytics, both to optimize existing applications and to think of completely new analytical requirements including the integration of AI.

Initial situation:
  • Maintenance and support contracts for the existing BI and DWH system threatened to expire
  • Performance of the solution no longer met AGAPLESION's growing data analytics requirements
  • Setup of IBM Cloud Pak for Data System as an innovation platform with all solution components on one system
  • Migration of already existing and installation of additional software on new hardware
Added value:
  • Higher performance and lower operating costs
  • Better possibilities for documentation and analyses 

The modernization of the BI and DWH system is probably AGAPLESION's most extensive project in our department to date. We have already had very good experiences with TIMETOACT in the past - at that time under a different name. Therefore, it was obvious to rely on the expertise of our colleagues again for such a large project.

Jan Geesen Team Lead Business AnalyticsAGAPLESION

Grown tasks require a new BI & DWH system

AGAPLESION's BI and DWH solution brings together information on patients, bed occupancy, operating room planning, employees and IT tickets, among other things. The smooth functioning of the system is essential, because the data forms the basis for planning, decision-making, and profit and loss statements of the healthcare group. Accordingly, there was a need for action when maintenance and support contracts for the existing system threatened to expire - up to now, this had consisted of partially outdated versions of IBM products (IBM Netezza, IBM Cognos 10, IBM TM1, Cognos Controller Desktop) and Talend Data Integration. 

The system resources were completely exhausted, continuous performance problems were the consequence and more complex analyses were impossible. AGAPLESION turned to TIMETOACT to implement a solution that could meet its data analytics requirements, which had grown in the meantime. The two companies can already look back on a successful collaboration.

Key requirement

The core requirement of the project was to set up a high-performance, scalable BI & DWH solution - preferably with all solution components on one system. The new platform had to provide all the desired applications and functions, including a data warehouse, software for data integration and planning, and extensive reporting, analysis and data science capabilities, including the use of AI.

With IBM Cloud Pak for Data System, all solution components in a central location

With advice from TIMETOACT, AGAPLESION opted for a fully comprehensive innovation platform based on the IBM Cloud Pak for Data system. The platform includes all necessary hardware components, pre-assembled and optimized for the application, the modern container application platform RedHat OpenShift, and the IBM Cloud Pak for Data software. The modular structure of Cloud Pak for Data allows the modules for data management to be used first, followed later by the modules for analytics and AI. The modules in detail:

  • IBM Netezza Performance Server (NPS) - as the successor to Netezza.
  • IBM Data Stage - IBM's data integration solution - as a replacement for Talend
  • IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog - the data catalog integrated in the platform
  • IBM Cognos Analytics with Watson - the current version 11.2
  • IBM Planning Analytics with Watson - as a successor to IBM TM1
  • IBM SPSS - previously standalone, now integrated
  • IBM Watson Studio / Machine Learning - IBM's modern platform for the use of AI
  • IBM Cognos Controller has also been upgraded to a new version - due to the technical platform outside OpenShift.
Beispiele für Workflows in IBM DataStage

The new Business Intelligence & Data Warehouse solution will offer AGAPLESION a whole range of benefits in the future:

Higher performance

The software components, which were previously located on a hodgepodge of systems, are now installed on central hardware. All components are technically integrated, making them highly efficient and meeting the highest performance requirements.

Lower operating expenses

The applications are integrated on the fail-safe RedHat OpenShift platform. This reduces the operating effort and saves time and costs accordingly.

Better documentation

All data is available in the system in a central, structured location. In addition, it offers the possibility of clear documentation in order to provide data with technical definitions and to keep users up to date.

More complex analyses

Thanks to the high performance, far more complex analyses can be carried out with the solution, apart from the previous reporting. Among other things, patient billing and occupancy planning can be optimized to achieve far-reaching increases in liquidity. In addition, AI systems could be implemented in the future to support doctors in forecasting the health status of patients, recognizing risk factors, or making real-time predictions of problems during treatment.

TIMETOACT enables silent commissioning and coaching

IBM Cloud Pak for Data System Hardware

The comprehensive project was divided into various sub-projects, which TIMETOACT implemented and accompanied from start to finish. In order not to disrupt AGAPLESION's operational processes, it was important to ensure the full functionality of the existing system during the project. Since, among other things, the healthcare group's maintenance contracts for the old hardware had expired, the applications had to be transferred to an alternative system in the meantime. The necessary hardware was provided and maintained by the service provider BlueConsult.

TIMETOACT's first task was to prepare the existing legacy systems for the data migration. Then, in mid-2021, the delivery and - for the customer - noiseless commissioning of the IBM Cloud Pak for Data Systems as the underlying hardware of the innovation platform took place. On the one hand, existing solution components had to be migrated to the new system, including in particular IBM Netezza, which comprises AGAPLESION's data warehouse. On the other hand, it was necessary to reinstall, configure and test numerous of the extension modules.

In addition to introduction and commissioning, TIMETOACT also supported key users with training on the new platform. As one of the few IT service providers in Europe, TIMETOACT knows the IBM Cloud Pak for Data System with all its components and extensions as well as the RedHat OpenShift platform inside out and can also provide support with technical questions.

I find the collaboration with TIMETOACT very productive. The short communication channels are particularly remarkable here: almost not a day goes by without me exchanging a few sentences with the TIMETOACT team - and necessary resources or information are always made available in the shortest possible time.

Jan Geesen Team Lead Business AnalyticsAGAPLESION

TIMETOACT will continue to support AGAPLESION in the future

To date, TIMETOACT has completed the migration of Netezza, the installation of Cloud Pak for Data, IBM Data Stage and Watson Knowledge Catalog within Cloud Pak for Data as well as Cognos Analytics, Cognos Controller and Planning Analytics - initially outside the platform on new hardware. The system is up and running, and the migration of the first dedicated data and the testing of selected use cases have already been successfully completed.

By the end of 2022, the remaining applications, including IBM Cognos Analytics and Planning Analytics, will also be integrated into the platform so that the system can fully develop its analytical capabilities. TIMETOACT will provide long-term support for the implementation of analytical use cases and will provide AGAPLESION with comprehensive partnership support. As part of a managed service, the IT service provider will also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the new system in the future.

AGAPLESION gemeinnützige Aktiengesellschaft was founded in 2002 in Frankfurt am Main by Christian companies to strengthen predominantly Christian healthcare facilities in a challenging economic and competitive situation. AGAPLESION owns more than 100 facilities nationwide, including 23 hospital locations with more than 6,340 beds, 41 residential and nursing care facilities with more than 3,550 nursing places, three hospices, 37 medical care centers, nine outpatient care services and an advanced training academy. In addition, AGAPLESION provides training in the field of healthcare and nursing at 15 locations. More than 22,000 employees provide patient-oriented medicine and care according to recognized quality standards. More than one million patients are cared for each year. The sales revenues of all facilities, including the investments, amount to more than €1.6 billion.

The sole shareholders of AGAPLESION gAG are various traditional diaconal works and churches. Through these shareholders, AGAPLESION gAG is also firmly rooted in the diaconia and sets the welfare of its patients, residents and employees as the benchmark for its actions.


Marc Bastien
TIMETOACT Software & Consulting GmbHcontactpersonhelper.linkProfile.title